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Will pay transparency solve the gender pay gap?

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From April 2022 employers in New York City will be required to be fully transparent on the pay range applicants can expect when applying for a job, promotion or transfer. 

This week the minister for women, Deborah Stedman-Scott, pledged that the government will help UK employers to do the same, though it is unclear whether it will be a mandate. 


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Gender equality and women's rights charity the Fawcett Society backed the move by the UK government and has similarly been campaigning for employers to stop asking applicants for their salary history when applying for the role. 

Part of the reason for this campaign is that asking about prior salary can perpetuate pay inequalities. 

Jemima Olchawski, Fawcett Society CEO, told HR magazine: “Not asking about salary history is a simple, evidence-led way for employers to improve pay equality.  

“Basing a potential employee’s salary on their past rate of pay means discrimination can follow women, people of colour and disabled people throughout their career.  

“How can this be fair? We need to see all employers taking meaningful action to close their pay gaps – and this is a solid start.” 

The charity has also proposed an Equal Pay Bill which would give women who suspect they are not getting equal pay the ‘right to know’ what a male colleague doing the same work is paid.  

Claire Reindorp, CEO of Young Women’s Trust, argued that including pay details in job postings could have a similarly positive effect on equality. 

Speaking to HR magazine she said: "Like ending salary history questions, requiring job posts to include salaries helps overcome baked-in bias and supports women and people of colour to negotiate on a fairer playing field." 

November 2021 analysis by meeting room provider Meetingo found that out of 100,000 UK jobs on Indeed 71% were advertised without salary details. 

Jon Abrahams company’s managing director is supportive of greater pay transparency. 

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “We believe employers should always include salary in their job descriptions because they’re more likely to have talented recruits apply.  

“This is because many potential candidates scroll past and ignore job advertisements that don’t include salary.” 
 
Advertising salary could be a great trust builder too he said, which has proven to be a critical quality in the current job market. 

Pointing to the rising cost of living and inflation, he added: “Candidates need to know if the salary is enough to live on so that they can afford their accommodation and everyday living expenses such as food, transport and clothing before applying.”